Fitness Duo - Nokia Lumia Windows Phone and Fitbit Flex

Nokia Lumia with Steps as Lock Screen and Fitbit Flex
Nokia Lumia with Steps as Lock Screen and Fitbit Flex. Wendy Bumgardner © 2014

Microsoft and AT&T debuted the fitness duo of a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone with a Fitbit Flex fitness band.  I received a pair to review, and as an iPhone user, I was intrigued. Not only was it a chance to refresh myself on the Fitbit Flex, but also to use the built-in pedometer function of the phone.

Fitbit Flex

The Fitbit Flex is the most popular fitness band pedometer. The suggested retail price is the same as the package being offered for both the phone and the Flex (with a new AT&T contract).

It tracks steps, distance, calories burned and sleep quality. You can use the Fitbit app or online dashboard to track your diet, nutrition and weight as well, making it my favorite pedometer for dieters.

Fitbit Flex has no numerical display, just indicator lights showing your progress towards your daily step count goal such as 10,000 steps per day. To see your data, you need to use the app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) or wirelessly transmit your data to a computer via a USB dongle. It was recently announced that Fitbit would not be integrated in Apple's iOS 8 HealthKit because they want to be available on all platforms. This bundling with a Windows Phone shows that commitment.
Full Review: Fitbit Flex

Nokia Lumia 830 Basics

This phone runs Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. It is pre-loaded with Cortana, Microsoft Office, Xbox, Skype, Bing, and OneDrive. It's slim has a 5-inch display that is a big step up from my iPhone 4s.

The 10-megapixel camera is also a big improvement for photos and video.

The Cortana voice command function can be used to log food with the Fitbit app. Rather than doing my usual one-finger mobile typing, I can say, "Fitbit, I had a croissant with breakfast," and it does the research through Fitbit's database of 350,000 food items to identify what food to log.

You will also be able to log workouts and start and stop exercise logging with Cortana voice commands.

The Lumia has far better battery life than my old iPhone as well.

One immediate impression is that I felt much more instantly in touch with news and social media as they refresh live in tiles on the main screen. On my old iPhone, I have to launch apps to check, and often I simply don't do that. With Lumia, I would be much more connected with the rest of the world rather than sticking to the two to three apps and sites I open regularly.

Lumia for Fitness: MSN Health & Fitness Apps

Besides using the Fitbit app, Lumia has MSN Health and Fitness Apps grouped together. I found opening that tile to be the entry to very good fitness and diet trackers, workouts, and health information.

  • Steps: The Steps pedometer app is a function of the accelerometer chip in the phone, so it is always on and working in the background. It works great as an all-day pedometer to set and achieve a goal such as 10,000 steps per day. You can set it to appear on your lock screen to remind you all day long. See today's stats including steps, percent of goal, distance, calories burned, active time and steps per minute. Tap to the Analysis screen to review past days and see the history and averages of the past week and month. If you carry your phone with you most of the day and always take it along for walks and runs, it can substitute for a pedometer. You should adjust your stride length in the Settings to get better accuracy with the distance estimate.
  • Cardio Tracker: The Steps data feeds into the Cardio Tracker.
  • GPS Tracker: If you want to track a specific workout, launch this app, which works even where you don't have a cell or data connection. You can enable audio cues to update you on your distance and speed every mile or other chosen interval.
  • Diet Tracker: Set a calorie target and track your food intake throughout the day. You can search for foods in their database.
  • Workouts: You're just a tap away from a wide selection of workouts and workout plans for strength, yoga and Pilates.
  • Health Lookup and Symptom Checker: Feeling punky? Check it out in the app.
  • Articles and Features: I love the ever-changing articles on fitness, nutrition and health included in the app The photos and titles entice me to read more about fitness and try the suggested workouts.

Bottom Line

I was impressed with the Lumia 830 Windows Phone for its built-in fitness features and great display. The Fitbit Flex is a nice bonus, although I prefer the Fitbit Charge fitness band that has a numerical display as well as syncing with the Fitbit app. There is no reason you can't use your chosen Fitbit with the app, so you could always pass along the Flex as a gift to a loved one who needs a Fitbit.

Will I be ditching my iPhone in favor of the Lumia? No, I need an iPhone in order to review walking apps. But if I didn't have that requirement, I would be tempted.

Weight Loss Expert Malia Frey also tested the Flex and Lumia 830 for food logging and diet tracking.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.